Friday, August 29, 2014

Spindrift Players' 'Meet Me in St. Louis' clangs to life


Clockwise, from top left, Sven Schutz, John Espejo, Nicole Lopez-Hagan and Isabel To appear in the Pacifica Spindrift Players’ production of “Meet Me In St. Louis.” Image courtesy Michael Lodick. 

Pacifica Spindrift Players director Jenny Hernandez thinks “Meet Me in St. Louis” has endured because audiences like its theme of love conquering all.

Although the musical about a family preparing for the 1904 World’s Fair seems quaint by modern standards, the humorous way the Smiths deal with adversity and each other was charmingly unconventional when the iconic film starring Judy Garland debuted in 1944, says Hernandez, who is at the helm of the show’s local production, which runs through Sept. 7.

Originally based on a series of short stories in The New Yorker, the plot’s conflict arises from the family’s impending move from St. Louis to New York City, which threatens to separate the Smith girls from their love interests and force them to miss the World’s Fair.

While many of the movie’s outdoor scenes, such as Garland singing “The Trolley Song” on a moving streetcar, cannot be recreated on the Spindrift Players’ intimate stage, Hernandez still manages to place the characters at the big fair, albeit without a Ferris wheel or similar props.

Some of the show’s chorus numbers boast added town folk, to highlight the fact that, after the World’s Fair, St. Louis was a “pretty poppin’ place to be,” Hernandez says.


Posted by Steve Sinai

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